New Campaign Tells Trump: Follow Reagan-Demand Open Debates

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Democracy Groups Denounce 15% Standard for Inclusion, Calls Debate Commission Anti-Democracy

Seeks Inclusive Debates With All Four Candidates Who Could Achieve 270 Electoral College Votes

The Campaign for Open Debates announced that it will be seeking open, inclusive debates and declared the so-called “Commission” on Presidential Debates, a discredited non-commission that is really a Democratic and Republican corporation, should be replaced by a true, independent commission.

On the Campaign website (please like the page) it explains “The Campaign for Open Debates is independent of any presidential campaign. It is seeking to create open debates that include all viable candidates because doing so is in the public interest. We cannot have real democracy if all the candidates are not included in the series of presidential and vice presidential debates.”  Sign-up for the campaign here

Kevin Zeese, coordinator of the Campaign declared “Voters have a right to know what all the candidates on the ballot stand for and should be able to see the candidates confront and debate each other on the issues.”

Donald Trump has supported third parties in presidential debates in 2000 saying “It’s disgraceful and amazing they can get away with it.” He threatened to sue the debate commission, if a Pat Buchanan lawsuit failed.

“The Campaign for Open Debates urges Republican candidate Donald Trump to follow the lead of President Ronald Reagan who in 1980 sought inclusion of third party candidate, John Anderson, in debates with President Jimmy Carter. Carter refused and Reagan and Anderson debated without him and with an empty chair for Carter on-stage. We hope that Mr. Trump demands inclusive debates and Secretary Clinton decides to join the open debates. Both candidates can show they are in favor of real democracy by supporting open debates,” said Zeese. “If Trump follows Reagan, and Clinton refuses, it will be evident to all voters who supports democracy and who opposes it.”

Judge James P. Gray (Ret.), Honorary Chair of Our America Initiative which has a FairDebates project, said “From our standpoint, every reasoning and caring person and institution should favor fair and full presidential debates that include candidates from all serious political parties.  That would be defined as all parties who are on  ballots in enough states technically to win the presidential election.  So we sincerely welcome and support this Campaign for Open Debates, and encourage others to do the same.”

The Campaign is rapidly building a movement to demand open debates because it believes people power can expose and overcome the corruption of the debate process. Two petitions are calling for open debates.Roots Action is focused on the media’s complicity in the closed debates is focused on the commission itself. “The Campaign will use a variety of tactics that target sponsors, venues, media outlets and the commission itself with protests, sit-ins, occupations and more,” said Zeese, who was a key organizer in the Occupy Movement.

“Elections are not a spectator sport – elections determine the direction of our future government. When two parties monopolize debates, it creates a fallacy that only one of those teams can win elections and it keeps those two teams in control of our future, said Jo Vaccarno of FairDebates. “Debates should be an opportunity for voters to hear new ideas.  Our vote is our voice so debates should help us find reassurance that our choices are not limited.  Open the debates to include all candidates who are mathematically able to win the election and make the tradition honest and fair.”

The so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is really a corporation controlled by the Republican and Democratic Parties designed to limit debates to two campaigns and exclude all challengers. They are a secretive tax exempt organization that does not disclose its funders. In 2012, three sponsors withdrew their sponsorship of the debates for not including third parties: BBH New York, YWCA USA and Philips Electronics. They call themselves a commission to confuse people and make themselves sound official and hide that they are really a front for the Democratic and Republican parties. It is inappropriate and undemocratic for the two establishment parties to exclude all challengers.

  • Aquifer

    Why do you keep pushing the Roots Action petition that has a requirement for meeting a poll % for inclusion in the debates?? Have you read the damn thing? This could wind up excluding the best candidate, while including the Libertar. …

    Wake up, folks!

  • kevinzeese

    When we had Jeff Cohen of Roots Action on our radio show we pushed him on that and found out he was also insecure about it. I told the audience I opposed an percentage of polling as a requirement — just being on enough ballots to achieve 270 electoral college votes is enough.

    We push it because at this stage we need to show broad opposition to the so-called ‘Commission’ on Presidential Debates

    Stein of course has it right, we don’t push polls tied to any political campaigns. had it right as well.

  • Aquifer

    Seems to me if that CPD decided to use that lower %, or just “lower” it’s own % to a more “reasonable” one to show it was “listening to the public” – it could bite you in the gluteus maximus … you can show broad opposition to the CPD with that petition by itself… i will not sign the RA petition – it legitimizes the concept of a polling % requirement and any petition with a polling % requirement should be rejected out of hand, IMO –

    If Cohen is so “insecure” about it, why does he keep pushing it as well – in a recent interview on TRNN – it was even more obvious what a “possible” result might be when it was noted that Johnson was polling around 7% and Stein around 3% and his petition calls for a 5% requirement … if he is sincere, he oughta drop it himself …. And Nichols, clever fellow that he is, oughta see the “pitfalls” as well – I suspect he does …

    To me it is a rather “cute” way for Dem backing org. like Roots Action, to claim a dedication to open debates while at the same time tilting them in a way to get the candidate most likely to help their own – i.e the Libertar. into them, while excluding the candidate that might hurt their own – ie. the Green … Dem adjuncts like RA, may fight for prog causes, but, just as with their “prog” Dem favorite, Sanders, when push comes to shove, its party over principle …

    I think you are getting sucked in to helping them at the expense of potentially hurting the best candidate –

  • kevinzeese

    It is a definite concern that Roots Action included the 5% level because they are lesser-evil advocates when it comes to the presidential election. I hope that is not what they are doing, but I don’t rule it out.

  • Aquifer

    So maybe you could at least drop that petition from your effort? And maybe point out why?

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